Who rides bicycles? At least 57 million people, or approximately 27 percent of the population ages 16 and up, according to one recent survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Another survey, this one conducted by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, found that the majority of these people ride for exercise/health (41 percent) and recreation (37 percent). South Florida Adventures lists the "Top 9 Cycling Stories" that may interest bicycle enthusiasts.
The Broward County Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee has produced a Bicycle Suitability Map that is intended to serve as a reference for bicycling in Broward County. Whether you’re biking for exercise and health, for recreation, or, more and more commonly these days, to commute, safety is of utmost importance. Visit the Metropolitan Planning Website, where you’ll find such information as a "Broward County Bicycle Suitability Map," "Defensive Driving" (tips for riding in traffic), "How and Where To Lock Your Bicycle," and an especially comprehensive section called "Bicycles Are Vehicles," which includes information on avoiding accidents, emergency maneuvers, Florida’s bicycle-safety laws, handling hazards, safety equipment, and traffic law highlights.
The good news for local bikers is that more than a dozen county parks offer paths for recreational bicycling:
Brian Piccolo Park
C.B. Smith Park
Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium
Everglades Holiday Park
Hollywood North Beach Park
Plantation Heritage Park
Quiet Waters Park
Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park
Tradewinds Park & Stables
Tree Tops Park
T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park
Vista View Park
West Lake Park
Mountain Bike Trails
Just because there are no mountains in South Florida doesn’t mean you can’t go mountain biking. You can, at both Markham (14 miles) and Quiet Waters (7.1 miles) parks, which have trails maintained by volunteer groups that are members of the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These groups organized a major cleanup and rebuilding effort after Hurricane Wilma and continue to maintain the trails on a regular basis. Markham Park also has a roughly four-mile trail specifically for off-road, hand-powered recumbent bikes, commonly used by wheelchair users. This trail can accommodate bikes that are lower to the ground and often characterized by one wheel in front and two wheels behind. This trail is also open to children, first-time mountain bikers, and anyone else who may be uncertain if they're ready for the park's more rugged 10 miles of mountain bike trails.
For safety purposes, all ages must watch a safety video and complete a waiver of liability (PDF). Riders under 17 must watch the safety video and have a release and waiver of liability signed by a parent/guardian. You can do this at the park office.
Brian Piccolo Park has a bicycle-racing facility called a velodrome. There's also a road course at Piccolo for bikers and skaters.
Our skate park at Brian Piccolo offers sessions for BMX bicycles only. The session from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Sundays is for BMX bikers, as well as sessions from 7:45 to 9:45 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Call Brian Piccolo at 954-357-5160 (after 3 p.m.) for more information.
Bicycle rentals are available at Quiet Waters Park and C.B. Smith Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays during Standard Time, and 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time. Bicycle rentals at T.Y. Park are available from noon to 4 p.m. on weekends but are not available to rent on holidays. A junior one-seat bike rents for $15 per hour, while a limo two-seater rents for $25 per hour. Deposit required. Helmets required for ages 16 and under.
Bicycle rentals are available through Bike America at Quiet Waters Park (954-357-5100), C.B. Smith Park (954-357-5170), and T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park (954-357-8811).
Two special handcycles are now available for free use on a first-come, first-served basis at Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium. The handcycles - one recumbent, one upright - may be checked out by any person age 18 or older with a physical disability. The weight limits are 250 pounds for the recumbent handcycle and 350 pounds for the upright one. Each handcycle may be checked out for one hour at a time, although park staff may extend this time frame as they deem appropriate. The handcycles are for independent use, and assistance with transfers and adjustments to the devices will not be provided by park staff.
Hours of use are daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last checkout of the day being at 4 p.m. Users must read and sign the Handcycle Usage Release, Indemnity, and Waiver of Liability and receive a copy of the User Guidelines prior to taking possession of a handcycle. Users must leave a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification card as a deposit, to be returned upon return of the handcycle and any accessories, to the same location and in the same condition in which it was checked out.
Other guidelines also apply:
• A helmet must be worn at all times; helmets are available upon request.
• The seat positioning strap is to be used at all times.
• Operation of the handcycle is subject to all traffic rules and regulations.
• Handcycle is for independent use within the park and cannot be taken off the park property.
• Operator’s Manual is available for review.
• Tools will be provided for basic adjustments to handcycle.
• Quad grips are available upon request.
For further information, call the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or call the park at 954-357-5400.
Tandem Bicycle Program
The Parks and Recreation Division’s Special Populations Section also provides a program designed for adults who are blind or visually impaired. This six-week program offers basic biking skills, leisure rides, fun, and socialization.
Call Special Populations at 954-357-8170 or email SpecialPopulations@Broward.org to find out when the next tandem program is scheduled.
The Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (Broward MPO) has developed an innovative Internet-based bicycle route-planning tool that allows bicyclists to enter their start and end locations and receive turn-by-turn directions on how to reach their destination. This new tool has been named BiKE Broward.
BiKE Broward includes five types of route selections users can choose from, including short, fast, least interaction with traffic, simple, and scenic. When planning your trip you can also include multiple travel points along your designated route.
The concept for BiKE Broward began in March 2008. The project is funded by the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (Broward MPO); it is also a joint effort through Florida International University Geographic Information System (GIS) Center and the University of Florida’s GeoMatics Program at the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center.
To provide feedback on the BiKE Broward Website, contact Ricardo Gutierrez, Broward MPO’s Interim Bicycle/ Pedestrian Coordinator, at 954-876-0044; to view the Website, visit http://bike.browardmpo.org.
Three parks - C.B. Smith, Tree Tops, and T.Y. - have set up miniature roadways in areas designated as Safety Town, a program of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. Here children learn such bicycle-safety basics as which side of the road to ride on, how to observe a stop sign, and how to proceed at railroad crossings. For more information or to schedule a free field trip, call Memorial Healthcare System’s Community Relations Department at 954-265-0994 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in County programs, services, and activities must contact the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or TTY 954-537-2844 at least 5 business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation.